Thursday, May 10, 2018

SOL #9 May 10th - Setting up the Sprinklers

Setting up the Sprinklers (Or anticipating it)

It's that time of year where the rains of April and May have greened up the yard, I've already mowed the lawn for the first time, the first wave of dandelions have gone to seed, and the garden is popping with salad greens, radishes, and wherever else we planted around St. Patrick's Day. But it's all going to need more water, even those darn dandelions, which means it's time to get the sprinkler system going.

Now I installed the sprinkler system myself (well I helped David anyway while he did it) so I know how it works (mostly). I've also started it each spring, winterized it each fall, and even fixed and improved it a few times. So it's not an unknown to me, but it's still be about a year since I've started it again and there is always something I forget, or the valve is broken, or I worry about just messing it up and not putting things back together correctly. So, it is with some trepidation that I put my "Handyman" card on the line and head out to get the water running again.

--Ten Minutes Later--

Well, I was hoping I'd get it going before it got too dark. Something is up with the valve from the house to the system and water came pouring from the brass valve-thingy where it shouldn't. Guess I'll be Googling stuff to see what I missed, lost or forgot in the process. Doesn't look like things will get watered tonight.

--15 Minutes Later--

After Googling what should be inside the valve, I see the problem. What I didn't mention before it that I took out the plastic doohickey things and a white plastic washer when I winterized it. It's what I was supposed to do anyway. Then, I taped them to my pegboard in the garage so I could find them again. But, during the winter, the tape unstuck and the doohickey thing fell into the recycling bin under the pegboard. I did actually find it and reaped it, where it stayed until I grabbed it this evening. Sadly, the plastic washer thing must have been recycled. So, it looks like I must by a replacement kit, just for the missing plastic washer, before we are ready for watering the yard this year. Oh sigh...the joys of being pretend handy.

Happy slicing!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

SOL #8 May 9th - Clara's Second Dinner

Clara's 'Second' Dinner

I'm exactly sure how or when it started, but most dinners at home end up like this picture. After picking at her food for a while, Clara stands up, sidles over to me, and sits on my lap. I put my feet up on her chair, we both recline, and we put her plate in front of me. Then, I start picking up her food and pretending to eat it. Clara snatches it away from me and then eats it herself.

I'm pretty sure this situation has it's origins in the high chair days, when the spoon of baby food was an airplane and was fed to her with many an zooming noise. Plus, sometimes it went off course and headed towards Dad's mouth, which made Clara jealous enough to eat more. I've usually been able to get Clara to eat more types of things and more food overall, even when she says she's done. We don't do a ton of dessert so that carrot is unusable. But I do have some fun tricks like:

  • "I bet you can't eat six pieces if spinach at the same time."
  • "Those green beans look like walrus tusks. What if they had four tusks?"
  • "The looks good! I think I'll have it."
  • "How many black beans can you fit on your spoon? I bet you can't do more than seven!"
So it's mostly just silly play, throw in a little competitive eating, and of course, taking her food without permission. But at this point, it's been happening for several years. I know I'll miss it when it ends, but I also am starting to make jokes that we'll be at her wedding and she will come over during the meal and sit on my lap to finish her meal. At least I have yet to resort to the tactics of the mother in the attached movie clip. 

"Mommy's little Piggie" from A Christmas Story

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

SOL#& May 8th - Ultimate Anticipation

A poem in honor of another great Ultimate season. Thanks for all the great season those who played and have played over the years.

Ultimate Anticipation...
photo credit: Sakuto _MG_0925 via photopin (license)

A jab step
A sprint
White disc zipping
From hand to hand,
Player to player.

Cleats dig into turf,
Roots tear during pivot, 
Another zip of the Frisbee
Fingertips snag on the rim
A stumble,
A catch!

Purple streak towards the end zone
Coiled thrower
Full of potential,
Muscles stretch...andthencontract
Whipping the disc ahead.

White floats against blue sky
Excited cheers drowned out by the heartbeat
Of the runner,
Sprinting to catch up to the disc 
As it spins closer, and closer,
To green grass...

Monday, May 7, 2018

SOL #6 May 7, 3018 - Walking while on the phone

Walking while on the phone
photo credit: splorp Hotline via photopin (license)

I just has a conversation with my Dad on the phone, and got in some exercise. He had just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon and I knew he would have some stories to tell me. And I just went fishing so I had my own stories, plus the ones we thought of from our past that these stories would remind us of. Most we had both heard and told before, but telling stories of experiences are sort of like telling jokes. While we may have heard it before, the telling of it, this time, and hearing how it maybe different or have a new point/punchline is the magic.

But I digress. So I happened to check my steps count on my phone near the start of my conversation. It was about 9,600 steps for the day. I move when I'm on the phone, usually just walking circles around the downstairs: Through the kitchen, into the dining room, through the living room, past the front door, across the music room, and back into the kitchen. That's a lap. I tend to be in constant motion while on the phone so I did a few dishes, picked up a few things in the living room, but mostly I just walked. In the 15-20 minutes we talked, I amassed 1,500 steps. Once, I walked almost 4,500 steps while talking to my brother for about an hour! Being on the phone is probably good for me.

I have to say though, things sure have changed since I was a kid. Once upon a time, phones were attached to the wall with cords and you could only go as far as the curly springs would allow. My Dad's house phone had a thirty-foot cord, so he could talk on the phone and make dinner at the same time. When I talked, I would walk all the way to the end of the cord, stretching it out, often clotheslining objects off counters by accident, or my little brother on purpose. Then I would spin into the cord and wrap it around my body until my Dad yelled at me to quit playing with the cord.

The phones at my Mom's house were not mounted to the wall but were set on the counters, or a small table in the upstairs hall. The cords were only a few feet long and it way too often that I pulled the phone right off onto the floor with a huge clang, plastic corners flying the phone base. I also got yelled at for that.

So, you can imagine it is to my great relief, that now when I talk on the phone, there are no cords involved. wife has yet to yell at me for walking in circles around the house; although she has asked me if I'm getting dizzy yet.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

SOL #3 May 4th - Packing for a Fishin' Trip

First Fish of 2018!
Packing for a Fishin' Trip

Today is May the Fourth, Star Wars Day, and if I was really awesome now, I'd write a blog full of wonderfully nerdy Star Wars puns or comments. But instead, I'm writing about fishing...packing for fishing actually.

My brother-in-law and I have been fly fishing and hiking mountains quite a bit the past five years and we are sneaking out Friday evening to Buena Vista to fish the storied "Mother's Day Caddis Hatch" on the Arkansas River. While it's still a week before Mother's Day (friendly reminder to those you with a mother or two...I have three of my own to consider, plus my wife, who is also a mother) the hatch is on and we are gonna go fish it Saturday and then drive home.

Like many of our excursions, we smartly put the date on the calendar weeks or months in advance, but then dumbly, call each other last minute to make sure we're still going and try to figure out what to pack. We've both forgotten important things in the past: Waders, food, coffee mug, glasses, wading boots, name it. We always find a way to muddle through and have a good time. Below is a list of what I made sure to throw in bags and put on the hood of my car for tomorrow.

 The List - Hurriedly assembled and likely missing something important:
- Fishing rods
- Reels
- Fly boxes
- Fishing vest and current fishing license
- Fishing Boots - Forgot those once and had to buy new ones at a store in a nearby town. Cost us some fishing time, were too expensive, and were a guilty pleasure of a purchase since my old ones were...old and cramped my toes.
- Flies for the river - I ran up to my fly tying desk and found about four dozen flies I had tied over the winter, many just perfect for this trip. A few caddis, a bunch of blue winged olives, Adams, beadhead pheasant tails, and a variety of midges and other odds and ends. Maybe I won't have to buy flies at the fly shop Saturday morning.
- Reading glasses - I've never used reading glasses to tie flies on my lines but I did buy them to tie the flies this winter. Damian (my BIL) said he was bringing his (for the first time), and since he's younger than me by a couple of years, I guess I can bring mine. I did have more trouble than I like to admit, last month while trying to ties on a few flies. Old is silly but at least I'm going fishing!
- Sunscreen, winter hat, baseball hat with dark brim to keep the river glare off my face.
- Sleeping bag and pads. We are going to just camp in the back of his pickup truck and it will be chilly.
- A small bag of clothes for Saturday, plus a couple layers of jackets and toiletries. I need to remember to pack my glasses in the morning, after putting my contacts in. I've forgotten glasses and that makes for long days with dry eyes or really blurry evenings.
- Coffee mug (phew, found in car)...luckily near my sunglasses which I will need too.
- Lies and stories to tell for the ride and during breaks (I'm always full of those).
- Not bringing food, my daypack, survival gear.

I think I'm ready! I know I will forget something but I will be in a river, waving a stick Saturday, and there are way worse things than that. And in case you're wondering, I release my fish back into the river, with the hopes of catching them the next year when they are even bigger!

Below are a few pictures from previous fishing trips, mostly taken by my brother-in-law. I'd include pictures of him with fish...but maybe there aren't any! Burn!

22" Bow near Lake City two years ago

My worst fishing injury,
just after landing the fish to the left.
Luckily I had cut the barb off and
it came out easily.

Nice brown trout on the Arkansas last year
Another brown on the Ark!

My brother-in-law capturing the amazing morning on Uncompahgre Peak two years ago.

May 3rd SOL #2 - What are ya...Chicken?

What are ya...Chicken?

Walking out the back door into my spring-rain-green backyard, I see them. Brown, white, speckled, with scaly yellow feet; my chickens push up against the chicken wire of their run, begging for the treats in my hand. Yummy sweet pepper tops with seeds, ends of cut green beans, and some old rice we never ate. It's not like they're starving, as they get their ration of organic chicken feed each morning, and their run is pocked with their scratchings for worms and other insects. But they squash each other anyway, fighting for position to be first in line.

Chicken Butts via photopin (license)
As usual, I walk around the coop to they sprint, in their velociraptor-like gaits, to the food I drop into their run. Henny is the matriarch and boldly pushes her way through the others, doling out sharp pecks to the head or necks of those who don't move quick enough. She always get her treats. Tawny colored Belle is the biggest and also at the bottom of the pecking order. She grabs a pepper top with seeds and sprints to the far end of the run while the other six hens squawk and peck at the rest. The rest are three are black and white speckled Wyandottes (Rocket, Ember, and Cinders), and two brown ones (Ginger and Stella).

  auntie eggs via photopin (license)
I open up the coop (with a hint of pride in my workmanships since I built it last fall) to see how many eggs we have. Yesterday we only got two, but the weather changed to rain and it seems like egg-laying is often related to the weather. Today, there are six eggs. They are brown and tan with a few speckles, and one light green egg, so I know Ginger laid an egg today. I wonder which hen did not lay an egg? We rarely get seven-egg days and usually have 4-6, enough to feed the three of us for breakfast and occasionally give away a dozen to a friend or neighbor.

These chickens are interesting. Not quite livestock (you don't really eat what you name ya know?), but not quite pets. Clara loves them and often picks them up for cuddles when they are out during the winter. When one died last fall, we held a burial service, only slightly less formal than the one we had for our beloved cat a couple of months later. They are about the most expensive eggs imaginable, but I'm glad we have them for their funny antics, their tasty eggs, and excuse to get outside each morning and evening to take care of them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

May 2nd SOL #1 - Fifteen Minutes as a teacher

Welcome to my Slice of Life blog. Feel free to check out any of my earlier posts for examples and ideas of what to write about. This slice, I just wrote my interactions for fifteen minutes on Wednesday.

10:45 AM - Start writing my blog. My goal is to just write now and also include the various interruptions and questions I have during my day. Of course, as a teacher, I'm supposed to be interrupted and questioned a lot but we will just see how it goes.

10:47 - A student from another class comes by looking for a friend who might be selling a computer. They discuss it for a few minutes and I start to wonder what the student in the other class should be working on for his work.

10:49 - He leaves (hopefully to do work) and that corner of the room quiets down a little.

10:50 - Check in with a student trying to download a video program on her computer.

Still 10:50 - Some of the other questions/interactions I had while trying to start this blog just before
... [Interrupted by tour]

10:51 - A tour comes through and we talk about the loft, how everyone looks to be working, and that the trip board is complete and they should check it out.

10:52 - Quick interaction with an 8th grader about his continuation speech. He's not sure how to start it and I suggested writing what's important to him down and then write the beginning later.

10:53 - Talked to a student about his brain...brain model to be exact. Took about three minutes and it's about the 8th discussion we've had about it today and it's really coming into focus/completion. I also told a student who was mostly reading for an hour due to a headache to some other work.

10:56 - "Why did someone make a petition for _____ and _____ to bring their own food?" It's on my whiteboard and I guess some are getting tired of the food mooching.

10:58 - So before I started [Interrupted by students coming up to sign petition and general signature discussion] blogging, I talked with someone about his TinkerCad design for goggles, checked out some polar bear video bloopers, and suggested someone wash out the 2-Liter bottle they were about to use for a project

11:00 - The Challah bread dough is rising according to a student and the buying computer discussion has restarted. No wonder I can never just find a few minutes to edit work with all these distractions. And this fifteen minutes felt relatively free from interruption. I think I'll be signing off now and attempt to edit some work. Looking forward to a month of writing with everyone.

I just like this old picture of my
first whiteboard mustache so I included it.